Today I am especially grateful for technology and the hundreds of ways it will help us get through this global challenge.
Where would we be without our family text chains that keep us connected and sane? Or our one-click access to genuine information sources around the globe? (The trick, of course, is to choose wisely. The CDC, for example, is an excellent source, as is your own state department. Wisconsinites, click here.)
Technology will allow our nation’s students to continue their studies and stay connected to teachers while we weather this bizarre period of isolation.
Here are 10 other ways we can use technology in the face of COVID-19:
- Do some online shopping to support local businesses. Buy your Easter and Mother’s Day presents now and get ahead of the game. My friend Cathy runs an amazing shop called Blue Moon Emporium, at which you can get all kinds of unique, artisan crafted items. She is closing the shop temporarily to keep everyone safe, but she has vowed to continue paying her employees as long as she can. You can help her and other entrepreneurs like her by shopping online or buying gift cards toward later purchases. Use your downtime wisely by checking some boutique shopping items off your list.
- Download music from independent artists. Musicians are not able to tour right now, and you need to stave off boredom. Increasing your playlist is a win/win. Check out some new musicians and pay a little to download their songs.
- Likewise, now is an excellent time to catch up on your reading. Order a book from a new author or download the e-version from your local library.
- Plan your next vacation. Man oh man, the travel industry is hurting right now. I’m not saying you should necessarily book anything just yet. Wait for some governmental guidance on that. But, take some time to research a place you’d really like to visit and plan your excursion. Once this virus season clears, we all need to get back out there and get moving. You don’t have to book an expensive trip. But, explore some ways for you and your family to enjoy the benefits of travel once it’s safe to do so again.
- Check out some online exercise options. I saw an amazing video from Greece in which a man on a rooftop led an workout session for his neighbors, who participated from their balconies. Humans really are incredible.
- Video chat with family and friends. It’s nice to see faces and you can use all sorts of ways to do so. I like Skype and Google Hangouts but you Apple people can Facetime as well.
- Share your talents. Upload videos of you singing, dancing, performing spoken word poetry, doing magic tricks. Art has inspired us through plenty of difficult times before and it can really help us now. Tony award winning actress Laura Benanti and Jennifer Garner are each offering student performers a global audience (including Lin-Manual Miranda). Just upload your video using the hashtag #sunshinesongs for Benanti and #heyjenlookatme for Garner and us regular folks will be watching too. Similarly, @sofashakespeare is a very creative endeavor that invites students to participate in a series of global, virtual Shakespeare productions.
- Reach out to people who might be really struggling. If you see a post from someone who requires antibacterial wipes for medical purposes, and you happen to have an extra store, maybe contact them and offer to share. We have to take care of each other.
- While it might not be safe in your area to visit local restaurants, you could order takeout, while that option is available. Be patient with any menu changes, though. Remember, restaurants are dealing with supply challenges as well.
- Think of a creative way to use social media and go for it. I have a friend that has started reading a children’s book each day via Facebook Live. Such a sweet and useful gesture. We’re all going to be looking for ways to amuse the young people in our homes so if you have any ideas, please share.
Note: The uptick in virtual meetings the virus is causing is also creating fertile ground for cybercriminals looking to hack into networks and gather information or emplace ransomware. Be extra vigilant about clicking on sites or downloading attachments and never email account information.
I hope you all stay healthy, stay vigilant and stay in touch. And, if you know of anyone else doing cool things with technology, please share.